Lent--Earliest Hint of Spring:'Fat Tuesday,' Preceeds Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday 2023 is tomorrow. We know this because today is the last day of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, but the season actually begins on King's Day (12th Night of Christmas, January 6th, just like the Feast of the Epiphany), and extends until midnight before Ash Wednesday. There is no "official" Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a holiday, just like Christmas and Easter. It belongs to everyone. In some parts of the country, official organizations control their Mardi Gras celebration, but this is not true in New Orleans. The Carnival season always begins on Jan. 6. Mardi Gras day (Fat Tuesday), however, is on a different day each year. Fat Tuesday changes every year because Easter Sunday is never on the same Sunday each year. Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday kicks off Lent--the season observed by mainline Christianity as a time of personal sacrifice, contemplation and meditation in preparation for Holy Week and Easter. Lent is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, United Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Persian, United Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions.